Bunions? Get your parkrun on! September 17 2015
Founded by Paul Sinton-Hewitt in 2004, parkrun has evolved from a single event - 13 runners in Bushy Park, Teddington, UK - into an international phenomenon with over a million park runners registered in 10 countries. Outside the UK events now also exist in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, France, Italy, Denmark, Poland, South Africa and the USA.
parkrun organise free, weekly, timed runs around the world. Run on a Saturday morning as part of a 5K event or get the kids involved on a Sunday with the Junior 2K parkrun. Park runs are for everyone regardless of age or fitness level; junior or octogenarian, first-timer or Olympian, everyone is welcome. Walk, jog, run (or race) your way around a course whether it be parkland, your local family park, beach or promenade. Runners pushing buggies or runners with a dog are also welcome!
Each parkrun event has a dedicated web page where you can get information about online registration, course details, and how to become a volunteer. Photos, event results and news are also posted here. Before your first parkrun simply register print out your personalised barcode and then turn up and take part wherever you want, whenever you want. After each parkrun, registered runners receive a results email. Do more than one parkrun and all your results can be viewed on your personal stats page, so, if you want to, you can track your progress.
parkrun celebrates the achievements of every park runner when they reach a significant milestone. Complete your 10th run and you automatically join the 10 clubs; there is also a 50, 100, 250 and even a 500 club! All qualifying members of the milestone clubs receive technical t-shirts to mark their achievement, free of charge.
Don’t fancy committing to running a 5K every Saturday morning but still want to support family and friends, get inspired, or just get involved in this amazing organisation? Become a volunteer. Each parkrun event is run and organised entirely by dedicated teams of volunteers. parkrun couldn’t operate without this support. These gems are celebrated in each parkrun event’s ‘This Week's Heroes’ section, and everyone who volunteers 25 times receives a 25 club t-shirt, free of charge.
As a budding novice park runner with 9 parkruns under my belt to date, I have met runners of all levels and ages, some relatively new to the parkrun community like myself and some parkrun aficionados. From runners who have worked their way through the ‘Couch to 5k’ programme to complete their first-ever 5K, to those who regularly take part in 5K, 10K, half and full marathon events; every runner is inspirational. parkrun has been a great way for me to stay fit, train to become a better runner, get involved in the local community and discover amazing parkland.
In the UK last week 7,106 parkrun volunteers cheered on 73,248 runners at 353 locations across the UK. Since its conception in 2004, parkrun UK has inspired 779,818 runners to get out of bed on Saturday morning and get involved!
Next weekend be sure to set your alarm and join the global parkrun family! Find your nearest event at http://www.parkrun.org.uk